Alfresco Living

 

Alfresco LivingWith the recent sunny weather, we are all thinking about outside living and dining, having neighbours, friends and family around for barbecues, creating outdoor spaces to entertain our guests and providing kids with a great space to play in the garden. It only takes an hour of sunshine before the barbecue invitations start flying in. With the all too frequent rains, it is important to take advantage of any sign of a nice day by getting out of the house and enjoying the garden. So whether you have a tiny balcony or a large garden, try to make the most of it. You know it won’t last!

Tips for choosing a suitable spot for Al Fresco Living:
The spot you choose to place patio furniture should be warm and sunny. Otherwise, it is unlikely that you will ever use it. While you want to find a happy balance between being scorched and frozen, check out your garden for the best spot that suits you.

  • If you have a large garden, try not position the patio dining furniture too far away from the house. You don’t want to have to carry food up and down the full length of the garden, especially if you forget the ketchup for those barbequed burgers. Smaller gardens will obviously provide less options.
  • You might also want to consider a spot in the garden that has some amount of cover to offer the fairer skinned among us the  option of shading themselves from the summer sunshine. This will also offer protection in autumn and winter. Just because we don’t have the best weather in the world is no excuse not to make the best of your garden all year round. When choosing patio or dining furniture, consider the durability of the furniture. If you don’t have a shed to lock it away in during winter, it can easily get damaged by the wet and cold winters. If you do happen to have storage, then choose furniture that can be easily folded away to maximize the use of available space. If you are not fussed about the added expense of garden furniture, there is nothing wrong with the old school approach of sitting on a rug on the lawn in your garden. Bring some cushions out for extra comfort.
  • You need to consider the size of the area that you have allocated for outdoor dining. It is best not to over-plant your garden in this area as you may end up dining in a jungle. You need to keep enough space for a barbeque. Keep a distance between the barbeque area seating area and heavily planted areas. You don’t want to scorch your plants or worse your guests.
  • Choose an area not in the direct line of the wind. A hedge or fencing can act as a good barrier against the wind.
  • When selecting the barbeque area, make sure that it is on a flat surface to avoid any accidents in your outdoor kitchen.
  • Position the barbeque away from children’s play area. Safety is the key!
  • Don’t annoy your neighbours by placing your BBQ in the direct line of wind in to their gardens. We all want to enjoy our gardens so think of others.
  • If you are willing to splash out on some decking, this can be a great option for covering up uneven surfaces but will require quite a bit of maintenance in terms of treating the wood.
  • The styles and ranges of garden furniture and patio furniture available is now second to none. Check out your local DIY shop or garden centre to see what is available. The MyHome.ie Products directory also has a selection from some of the leaders in the market. While wooden furniture is probably the most attractive, it also requires the most maintenance and may require sanding and treating each year. Plastic furniture, while not so attractive, is cheaper and requires less maintenance. It really depends on how often you plan using it and the budget you have available. Shop around! There are plenty of  bargains to be had.
  • You can jazz up the seating area by dispersing some potted plants and herbs around. Not only will these look great, but they will smell amazing and will be a happy addition to any salad that accompanies your barbeque.
  • If you are living in an apartment, there may be a communal garden or roof-top garden. It is often the case that residents don’t make use of these areas so you might find that you will have it to yourself. Check with your management company about rules on barbeques as there may be health and safety regulations that don’t permit them. Alternatively, make the most of your public parks. It might require a bit more effort than just popping out your back door, but it will put the colour back in your cheeks by spending some time outdoors. Picnic time has arrived!

The most important thing to remember is to enjoy your outdoor space. Don’t think of it as a chore to maintain, but rather an extension of your home.

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